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If you are a frequent traveler, shouldn’t you have some of the perks normally reserved for big corporations? By choosing the right type of hotel and establishing a relationship with the right members of hotel staff, you can arrange the kinds of discounts and special treatment that the big guys get. A good hotel will take notice of valuable customers and make arrangements to better accommodate them during their stays. If you follow these steps, you are well on your way to making it onto a hotel’s VIP list.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
A large hotel chain is not going to go out of its way to make special arrangements for a single person who only stays there a few nights out of the year. It is about relative size. Your patronage accounts for a small part of a large chain’s revenue, so patronize a hotel where your money will make up a larger part of their net income. By choosing to stay in a smaller chain or independently owned hotel, you can stand out as being a bigger client, thus giving you more leverage to work out a deal.
Hotels that are new or are off the beaten path will be more willing to accommodate a frequent traveler. These hotels need to establish themselves, and a happy repeat customer is a great way to do that. There is no marketing tool that is better than positive word-of-mouth reviews.
Put in Some Face Time
The people who work the call centers for hotels do not have the authority to arrange a stay at a discounted price, so actually go to the hotel that you want to stay at and request a meeting with a real person. Ask to speak to the general manager of the hotel. If the GM is not available, then the director of sales or the sales managers are the people to talk to. These people are there to make sure that visitors have enjoyable stays and become repeat customers.
Explain to them that you like the hotel and intend to be a lifetime customer. A happy customer is much more likely to get special treatment than an irate, troublesome one. Hotels make their money by booking rooms. If a small hotel can land a repeat customer, even at a lower nightly rate, then you are both benefiting.
Ask for What You Want
Be straightforward about what you want. Tell them that you would like to get a specific room at a specific rate. If they are genuinely interested in keeping you as a client, then they will work with you toward a mutually beneficial arrangement. Don’t ask for a special rate or about club memberships. These are seldom ever worth the extra money associated with them. Saving money on every night and every visit is more valuable than racking up points. You are already earning points by using your credit card, and seldom are points as valuable as cash-in-hand savings.
Be a Good Guest
Remember when you were young and your parents would tell you be a good guest? Well, the same applies to your stay at a hotel. Be polite to the staff and acknowledge their efforts to make your stay an enjoyable one. “Please,” “thank you,” and a well-deserved tip will go a long way in establishing yourself with the staff and ensuring a good stay with each and every trip.